ALL-AGE CHILDREN RANGE FREE

Very often we wish:
‘Serve me heaven in a dish’,
And for Paradise long
As in Bing Crosby’s song –

‘Oh give me a home
Where the buffalo roam
And the deer and the antelope play’ –

Our desires crooned by Bing
To lost Eden take wing,

‘Where never is heard
A discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.’

Would Trencreek in July
This heart yearning supply? . . .
Some arrived a day late,
Read the words at the gate
Saying here they would see
The young children range free
And the animals too –
Unlike at a zoo –
So, must drive with great care
Every day everywhere.

But in holiday week
There at Eden’s Trencreek
All too soon skies became
Clouded over with rain,
At which point could be heard
The discouraging word;
‘We’d be best off at home’
The set-piece whinge-and-moan;
As some adult males said:
‘A T.V., softer bed,
And less cost, warmer air;
More like Paradise there’ –
Loosing childhood emotion
In free range locomotion;
While each actual child
With new playmates ranged wild:
Three black pot-bellied pigs,
Full-grown goats, human kids,
Lots of hens, does and bucks,
Rooster, donkeys and ducks –
Roaming free from all fear
That a lion might appear;
Not a tiger, black bear
Nor a cheetah roamed there.

Much free fun could be had
By each lass and each lad:
Trampolene-leaps to heaven
(Maybe crash-land in Devon);
Like some Tom Sawyer dream
Schoolboys fished in the stream,
But one girl after dark
Threw her shoe for a lark,
Knocked the lid off the tin
With live fishing-bait in
And we heard girls scream out,
‘Free-range maggots about!’

Soon the adults began
To be children again
At Flambards’ Pleasure world
Almost all had a whirl.

And some even looked in
At ‘the flicks’ with a grin
For the Barney Movie
(The two toddlers went free);
Amused girl at the door
Asked them: ‘Did you say “four”?’
Grandad’s boast was not feeble:
‘Yes! We’re very sad people!’

They joined the screen’s cast
In a song from the past:
‘Because I so love you
And you sure love me too
We are all, you’ll agree,
One big glad family.’

And it Asda be told
Ancient campers, brass bold,
Once decided to dine
For one pound twenty-nine
From the children’s menu
All-day breakfast, turned two.

Then one two-year old tot
At St. Agnes forgot
That no naturist should,
Yet she bathed in the nude,
And, amusing a few,
Swapped St. Agnes for Looe!

Pretending to be
Guys from old Galilee
‘Uncle’, Pa and Grandad
Took a party of lads
To harvest the sea
Off old Mevagissey.
To start with, the fish
Appeared not to relish
Our fresh mackerel bait
And decided to wait
Until two of our group
Threw their cereal up
Over starboard and port,
Then fish of all sorts
Gladly yielded themselves
From the sea’s bottom shelves.

Free-range fruit of the vine
Flowed at night party time
When much ribbing took place
At the varying choice
Of events of the day:
Trago Mills?’ ‘China Clay?’
‘But no woman’s so silly
As to visit Goonhilly!’

All good family fun
That our Father smiled on.
Pray there’s never a dearth
Of such heaven-on-earth
As in holiday week
On the farm at Trencreek.
‘Be a child’, said our Lord,
‘Enjoy the Kingdom of God.’

Hugh Thompson

August 1998

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